Since I first mentioned in February Fresh my whole idea of “Personal Dates” and different version of “me time” I’ve had a few people ask me what I meant by that and I’m so excited to share! For me a “Personal Date” is basically when I take my self out on a date, alone! (I know what you’re thinking…. I need a better name for this—open to suggestions! No other friends, no significant others, just me going out of my way to leave my house and doing something with me, myself, and my time.
Once I decided to get my own apartment, I knew I was going to have more time than ever spent alone. I’ve always known that I’m the complete opposite of a homebody. When I was growing up, I’d do anything to get out of the house and do something with friends or family! Now that I’m living on my own, I’m realizing the the amount of discomfort I have when I’m alone.
Autophobia is the fear of being alone. I wouldn’t say what I have is necessarily a fear though… more a moment of anxiety because I’m not afraid of the idea of being alone. I love to plan in personal days but then when that day and moment actually comes, I tend to freak out. I feel incredibly stressed like there’s 100 other things I should be doing, and then it takes me a loooooot of pep talking (to myself) and sometimes a phone call with a friend or family member to call me down… So you see, I’m not great at being alone, but that’s why I need to practice! If you’re reading and realize you can relate… stay tuned I have a solution!
“I wouldn’t say what I have is necessarily a fear though… more a moment of anxiety”
But the idea for my Personal Dates actually started well before the move even happened and actually started for another reason entirely (it just so happened they came in handy out here too.) When I first came up with the idea it was after doing my goal planning for 2018. At that time, I wasn’t really happy with my relationship status. All of my friends were going on dates and getting engaged and some even married! I was annoyed seeing everyone going out with their significant on these lavish dates. If this sounds like you… here we go!
Rather than bum myself out more about not having a person in my life to do those things with, I figured stop wasting time waiting for someone else when I could do all of those things right now! So, I made a promise to myself that each month I’d treat myself to a special date. Not by treating myself to pulling the trigger on the thing that’s sat in my online cart for forever…but by actually leave the house and going out to do something.
I started off very strong! The first month, February 2018, I booked a trip to New York and although I was going to visit I friend, I still knew I was going to have a significant chunk of time alone. From museums to tours to stores—I did it all! Obviously being in a new city with a large bucket list made it easier than being home on a Sunday… but it was a start!
Sometimes I make plans to 100% go alone, but then friends will reach out and ask what’s going on and although it’s supposed to be me time, I try to also never turn down friends when they reach out. Plus, I prefer the company! I think it’s important to find the balance until it feels comfortable in your routine. The second month, March, I went to a comedy show with a friend!
Later in the year I got Movie Pass and that became my go to activity to do alone! Although I no longer have Movie Pass and switched to AMC A-List (which I highly, highly recommend) I still go to movies ALLLL the time, so much that I no longer allow myself to count movies as a Personal Date. (Keep up with all my movie reviews on Instagram Highlights & Stories)
Another activity that I actually love to do alone is go to Flea Markets. There’s so many in LA that any weekend, I can find one going on. I prefer to go alone when there’s something I’m specifically keeping an eye out for because I’ll walk the whole pace 2-3 times to make sure I’m getting the best deal!
Some other activities include going to various networking event like #imakealiving and AIGA events or going to art museums (another activity that I might spend more time at than the average person.)
Just this weekend, I went to the Japanese Gardens near my house. I had been with Emory before, but this time everything was in bloom.
For these Personal Dates I try not to plan ahead and let them happen more spontaneously. Most of the activities I’ll still invite friends to go, but if no one can make it then I decide to do it any way! Or things like special exhibits that I know I’m interested in more than most people, I’ll save that for a day when I need something to do!
Trust me, this is a harder habit than you’d think to get into! The last thing I want though is another thing stressing me out so if at the end of the month I reflect and I’m like… wow I forgot to do anything. Who cares? That must mean I had a pretty full and busy month and that’s the real goal! It moments where I start to feel the anxiety creep back in that I try to push myself to find something to do. Sometimes it’s even as simple as let’s go run an errand or take a walk around the block. Not only have they helped me feel more comfortable being alone, but it’s also introduced me to some new activities that I otherwise may not have found!
Let me know if you give it a shot or if you think this will help you! What activities do you like to do alone that I should try? I’m always open to suggestions!
Here’s a list I’ve brainstormed to get you started with some ideas!
see a movie on opening night— it’ll be packed with strangers, so you won’t really even feel alone
go to the new restaurant you’ve been dying to try and order a 3-course meal. Pretend you’re there to write a review (don’t tell them that… just in your head)
go to a museum, take a sketchbook, and pretend like you know what you’re doing—you might surprise yourself
go to the dog park and make a new friend — even if you don’t have a dog
explore a neighboring town that you’ve never actually been to… maybe they have a great boutique or the best BBQ… you won’t know till you try
Go for a hike (but put your safety first & be smart about where and when!)
Try a new work out class that you’d normally never do, maybe even indoor rock climbing?
Grab a book, go to a coffee shop or a beach or somewhere not your house and just start reading (especially if you don’t really like to read!)